Bethlehem Press

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Pates fall just short vs. WWL

Tuesday, July 2, 2019 by cj hemerly Special to the Press in Sports

The way that the Freedom boys basketball team has been playing this summer, with being on the wrong side of results due to regularly missing starters and regular contributors, and then having to face a Wilson West Lawn team fresh off a Cedar Beach Bash at the Beach Tournament championship last weekend, not many would have given them the chance.

But the Patriots battled and competed until the very end before falling to the Bulldogs 49-44 last Thursday night in the Lehigh Valley summer league at Cedar Beach.

Trailing by double digits early in the first half, Freedom scratched and clawed back to get to within a one-possession game with less than one minute remaining, but could not make it all the way back, falling short on its final offensive possession.

“We started playing a lot better in the middle of the first half when we started to come back,” said assistant coach Sam Senneca. “We started making our shots and running the offense that we want to while limiting mistakes. If we could’ve just made a couple of more shots there at the end, it could have been a different outcome. The guys competed and that was the most important thing that they at least played hard.”

It may have helped that the Patriots looked more like what it should be in the winter, as several starters and key contributors returned after missing the weekend tournament. Playing at near full strength and having a bench to use certainly helped them to stay competitive with a talented Wilson West Lawn team.

“We’ve been struggling much of the summer so far just because we’ve been short with numbers,” Senneca said. “But tonight we were able to use a rotation and the kids were able to compete at max level against a really good team. We were right there in the end. If we would’ve made a couple shots there we could’ve had it.”

The Patriots saw themselves behind by as many as 13 points as the Bulldogs and their Division I recruit Stevie Mitchell were able to score at will and defend. But Freedom showed its grit and began to battle back, as it was only down by two at halftime.

In a back-and-forth second half, it was Wilson West Lawn that was able to just make enough plays to hold on for the victory.

“It was a tough one to battle all the way back but fall short,” Senneca said. “But I’m proud of the way they competed.”

Taj Montgomery tallied a team-high 11 points to lead the way for Freedom, which has a bye this week, and with the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday night, won’t play again until Tuesday, July 9 against Reading at 6 p.m.